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Jimmy Burnette’s Model A dream realized

By Kay S. Pedrotti If you see a happy couple riding through Barnesville in a 1928 Model A, usually accompanied by a singing Jack Russell terrier named Sparkle, it’ll be Jimmy and Bobbie Burnette. The gleaming black Model A was a 19-month restoration project for the Burnette family. Jimmy says, ‘I didn’t build it to show. I did it to ride.’ He had never worked on a car in his life. ’He wasn’t a mechanic, but he is now,’ said Bobbie. Known as a ‘four-door leatherback,’ the Model A had some wood parts in the body that had rotted and had to be replaced. The original motor is there, rebuilt by an outside company and considerably spiffier than when Jimmy bought the car from a local person about three years ago. He has used stainless steel to replace many parts that had rusted. ’You can still buy parts from Ford for the Model A cars,’ Jimmy says, ‘all but about five things. You have to find those wherever you can, like at swap meets.’ Car shows are not his favorite way to spend time ‘“ too much sitting ‘“ but he and Bobbie have taken the car to several. Not long ago, he adds, the car earned Number 5 in the top 25 of 278 cars shown, ‘but of course there was no money in it.’ The restoration took a lot of work but the vehicle is something he and his wife of 56 years enjoy. They have traveled all over the United States, missing only four states, but not in the Model A. ’I buy 16 vehicle tags, so don’t ask me what all I drove around the country,’ he adds. Lifelong residents of Barnesville, Jimmy and Bobbie say in spite of all the places they have seen, they have never found another location they’d move to. He has retired and passed on J. Burnette Construction, pipeline specialists, to his son Jim. Bobbie was with First National Bank for 28 years. Whatever their outside jobs, they say they have worked together ‘all our lives.’ The enjoyment they get from the beautiful old car was worth every penny of the restoration, they say. But it would have been nice to have paid what a new1928 Model A sold for ‘“ $765.

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